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Homeowners warned over stamp duty tax scam

New homeowners are being warned to be on their guard against stamp duty tax scams, including those that claim a home could be designated as two properties, therefore they had overpaid tax.

HM Revenue & Custom (HMRC) has issued a warning about cold calls from bogus tax repayment agents, which could leave them facing huge tax bills.

The conmen are advising new homeowners to make Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) refund claims, saying the homeowner had unknowingly overpaid, and the warning comes after a recent spate of Stamp Duty refund claims to HMRC failed to meet very specific criteria.

How do the scammers operate?

The scam works by rogue agents cold calling new property owners after finding them through Land Registry records and property search websites, promising money back on overpaid stamp duty on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis.

When the tax authority queried claims it was sometimes after the trickster had creamed off their fee and left the homeowner to pick up the difference and face potential penalties.

HMRC says there are a number of tax scams, including:

HMRC said the recent analysis showed that up to a third of claims for ‘multiple dwelling relief’ refunds were incorrect.

Measures new homeowners should take if they have a suspicious approach about stamp duty refunds:

In a recent example, HMRC said a letter from a rogue agent suggested a homeowner may have overpaid £60,000 worth of Stamp Duty. The rogue agent claimed the home could be designated as two properties, which it could not.

Another claimed that a bedroom could be a separate dwelling and in line for claiming ‘multiple dwellings relief’ because it had an en-suite and a built-in wardrobe which could be a kitchen if you added a microwave and a kettle.

For help and advice on tax matters, contact our expert team today.


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